The Opposition BJP in Odisha on Monday boycotted the all- party meeting convened by the Assembly Speaker SN Patro, when he allegedly did not allow opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi and MLA Jaya Narayan Mishra to attend the meeting in place of Leader of Opposition P K Naik, who is yet to fully recover from COVID-19.
Deputy leader of opposition in the House BC Sethi claimed that the BJP was not getting its due as the main opposition party.
The meeting was called by the Speaker ahead of the Winter Session of the Assembly which will begin from December 1.
In the previous session, the Speaker had given an assurance that some other MLAs would be allowed to participate in the all-party meeting, Mr Sethi claimed.
“However, he denied permission today, and therefore, I walked out of the meeting in protest,” he said.
Mr Sethi further said that as suggested by the Speaker during the last meeting, the state unit of the BJP had written a letter about five days ago, seeking permission for the participation of opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi and Sambalpur MLA Jaya Narayan Mishra due to Mr Naik’s illness.
“But the Speaker later refused to accept it and sought another letter from the BJP legislature party,” he said.
Protesting the Speaker’s decision, Mr Sethi termed it as an injustice to the Opposition and snatching of the constitutional rights.
Talking to reporters, Mr Patro said, “I do not have any objection in taking other members in place of the Leader of Opposition. Let the BJP legislature party elect a new leader in place of Naik. As the Leader of Opposition is sick, he can attend the meeting through video conference also.”
BJD’s Chief Whip Pramila Mallick said that the BJP has all along been given the status of the main opposition party in the Assembly.
Everything will have to be done as per the Assembly rules and conventions, Mr Mallick said.
“How can any other MLA replace the Leader of Opposition in the all-party meeting?” she asked.
After the meeting, the Speaker said the House will function for five hours a day in two phases.
While the first phase will be held from 10.30 AM till 1.30 PM, the second phase will function from 4 PM to 6 PM on each working day.
The first day of the session will begin at 11 AM when the supplementary budget for 2021-22 will be tabled, he said.
The appropriation bill on the first supplementary statement of expenditure for 2021-22 will be tabled on December 10.
While the Opposition BJP will be allowed to move adjournment motion for four days, the Congress will be given two days (Tuesday and Saturday) for the same.
The Speaker also informed the meeting that the new rule on restriction on pandemonium during Question Hour and the Governor’s address will be implemented from this session.
“All members of the House have been instructed not to create any ruckus in the House during Question Hour and Governor’s speech. Action will be taken as per the law if it is not obeyed,” Mr Patro said.
The new restriction will be in place according to a resolution passed at the recently concluded 82nd AIPOC (All Indi Presiding Officers Conference) in Shimla, the Speaker said.
Discussion on adjournment motion will be held for total of 90 minutes, of which 55 minutes will be given to opposition members.
Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said his party will demand an Orissa High Court-monitored SIT probe into the Kalahandi woman teacher’s kidnap and murder case and complicity of Minister of State For Home DS Mishra in it.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)